RICHMOND GETS TOUGH WITH ILLEGAL BOATS




Illegally mooring a boat on the river in the London Borough of Richmond could lead to a fine of up to £500 a day - or ultimately a term in prison.

Following a four year campaign, Richmond Council has been granted powers to prosecute unlawfully moored boats from next week (March 13).

A new byelaw means it will be a criminal offence to moor up to council owned or managed land. Every 24 hours the boat is moored, or attached, to the land, a new crime has been committed.

The move is the latest clampdown on boats that overstay on short-term moorings or permanently moor without permission.

Elsewhere the Environment Agency has tightened up at moorings it owns along the river. Its regulations are based on civil law and similar to those used to regulate private car parks. It is policed by car park firm District Enforcement. Some other councils are considering following the EA's example.

And as previously reported by RTN, from May the River and Canal Trust is targeting boats which overstay on short-term moorings with the threat that boat licences may be refused and vessels ordered off their waterways for persistent offenders.

The move by Richmond is thought to be the first of its kind of the river.

'Distress'

Richmond Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Pamela Fleming, said: “I am delighted that all the hard work our officers and responsible river users have put into this byelaw application will be rewarded.

"Some of these boats cause a great deal of distress for people living in and visiting the borough.
We hope that we will soon see the end of these boats mooring with no permission along our beautiful stretch of the Thames.

“Over the next few weeks we will follow up on the notices already given, and contact all those vessels currently in an unauthorised spot on the river and warn them that their unauthorised mooring days are over. Time to move on or risk a fine.”

A council spokeperson said: " A new offence will be committed every 24 hours a boat stays. Each individual offence will be considered by a judge, and he/she will set an appropriate fine- up to £500.

" If the boats still refuse to move, this could be seen as a contempt of court and therefore a custodial sentence could be applied, but this would be in an extreme case and not specifically linked to the byelaw."

Link to the Richmond byelaw

Story dated March 4th 2015

 
 
 
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